By Charlotte Roberts

The Best Thrillers to Add to Your Watch List

From psychological games to action-packed survival stories, we've got you covered.

Sometimes there’s no better way to spend your afternoon than sitting on the sofa with a good film on your TV screen. And by good film, we of course mean thrillers.

There’s something addictive about a juicy thriller, more satisfying and unnerving than any gory slasher, they allow us to live out our wildest fantasies and worst nightmares – all without having to deal with the IRL consequences. Sounds like a good deal to us.

Even better, there’s a vast array of subsections falling underneath the ‘thriller’ umbrella. When it comes to this genre, there truly is something for everyone – whether you fancy an action-thriller to get your heart pumping, or a psychological thriller to get your brain whirring.

Which is exactly why we’ve put together a definitive guide of the Top 5 thrillers for every occasion, separated into every kind of sub-genre possible. Whether based on real-life events for extra spook-factor or a thriller-comedy or some life relief, we’ve got the film for you…

The five best psychological thrillers to watch

1. Fall (2022)

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This one borders more onto survival thriller, but it’ll no doubt have you conveniently popping off to make another cup of tea mid-film. Courage comes at a pretty high cost for adventure-seekers Shiloh (Virginia Gardner) and Becky (Grace Fulton.) Almost a year after a life-altering accident left Becky traumatised, she finally plucks up the courage to join her best friend on a risky climbing mission. Their aim is simple: to reach the top of the B67 tower in the middle of the Mojave desert. But the duo’s move doesn’t go quite to plan, and their chances of making it out alive get slimmer by the minute. With a major twist, you’ve probably seen snippets of this film doing the rounds on TikTok. 

2. Get Out

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This thriller won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and it’s no surprise why. The film centres around interracial couple Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) as they prepare to meet Rose’s parents for the first time. But travelling upstate to her family home, the overly accommodating Armitage families start leaving some unsettling clues – and send alarm bells ringing.

3. The Night House (2021)

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Still reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Beth (Rebecca Hall) is left alone in her lakeside home he built for her. Trying her best to keep it together, her world begins to fall apart after a ghostly presence appears in the house – with lights across the pond leaving her guessing if she really knew who her husband was. This one’s got a twist you’ll never see coming.

4. The Voyeurs (2021)

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Starring Euphoria’s Sydney Sweeney alongside Justice Smith in this Amazon Original, The Voyeurs explores what happens when curiosity borders into obsession… After spotting them through the window, a young couple become fixated with the sex lives of their neighbours living opposite. But as they constantly peer into their neighbour’s lives, a range of incidents lead to a dark outcome. Our bets are on you keeping your curtains closed after this one. 

5. Fresh (2022)

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Bordering into the horror genre, Fresh has already made quite the pop culture impact since its release last year.  After quitting dating apps, Noa (played by Normal People’s Daisy Edgar-Jones) seems to meet her perfect match in the alluring Steve (Sebastian Stan). After a whirlwind romance, he whisks her away for a romantic weekend away – only for Noa to find Steve’s been hiding some less than conventional appetites. 

The five best action thrillers to watch

1. Rogue Agent (2022)

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When it comes to conmen, they don’t come more ruthless than Robert Freegard (James Norton). Disguising himself as an MI5 agent and forcing his victims into hiding, he messes with the wrong woman in Alice Archer (Gemma Arterton). Getting over her heartbreak in the best way possible, it’s up to lawyer Alice to finally take him down. Honestly, falling in love with a conman who looks like James Norton is an easy mistake in our eyes.

2. The Gray Man (2022)

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Did someone say Ryan Gosling? The Barbie star appears in The Gray Man as shadowy CIA agent Six, who finds a price placed on his head after uncovering some deeply dark and incriminating agency secrets. Hunted across the globe by a psychopathic former colleague, Ryan stars in this thriller alongside the likes of Chris Evans and Ana de Armas. This Ken’s job certainly isn’t ‘beach’ anymore… 

3. The Covenant (2023)

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Think war films are a bit dull and depressing? Think again. Directed by Guy Ritchie, Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim star in this action thriller as Sergeant John Kinley and interpreter Ahmed. Set during the war in Afghanistan, Ahmed risks his life to save an injured John – travelling across miles of tough terrain with the Taliban closing in. Unbelievably tense, this is how you make an action thriller.

4. Speed (1994)

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Starring all time greats Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, Speed follows LAPD Officer Jack Traven (Reeves) as he deals with the biggest challenge of his life. When a bomber places a bomb on the bus and rigs it to explode if the vehicle goes under 50 miles per hour, it’s up to Jack and fellow passenger Annie (Bullock) to take control and disarm the bomb before it’s too late. 

5. The Bodyguard (1992)

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If there’s one explosion in the film, it’s classed as an action thriller in our books. A classic across the globe, The Bodyguard follows former US Secret Service agent Frank (Kevin Costner), who is hired to protect famous actress and singer Rachel (Whitney Houston) from an unknown stalker. A film that has romance, action and suspense, this one’s sure to please everybody in the room.

The five best thrillers to watch based on true stories

1. The Good Nurse (2022)

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Whilst battling a serious health condition, overstretched ICU nurse Amy Loughren (Jessica Chastain) uncovers her coworker Charles Cullen’s (Eddie Redmayne) darkest secrets – unmasking one of the most sinister serial killers of all time. The film is based on the true story of Cullen, who killed at least 29 people whilst employed as a nurse between the 1990s and 2000s (although authorities believe that number to be closer to 400.) Totally unnerving, Eddie Redmayne comes through with one of the most impressive portrayals of a serial killer seen on screen.

2. The Clovehitch Killer (2018)

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In The Clovehitch Killer, one teenager’s perfect family – or so it seems – is ripped apart by a serial killer lurking too close to home. This film is mostly inspired by the true story of BTK Killer Dennis Rader, who murdered 10 people between 1974 and 1991. The cases remained unsolved until 2005, when he accidentally disclosed his identity to law enforcement.

3. The Reef (2010)

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Planning a beach holiday? Maybe give this one a miss… When a sailboat capsizes and leaves a group of friends stranded off the coast of Australia, it seems the only thing to do is for everyone to swim for shore. Everyone apart from Warren, that is, whose fear of sharks keeps him firmly on the hull. Turns out, it’s a very healthy fear of sharks – as he spots his friends being hunted. The Reef is actually inspired by the true story of Ray Boundy, the sole survivor of a similar event take took place in the 1980’s.

4. Profile (2018)

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Inspired by true events, Profile follows undercover British journalist Amy as she attempts to bait and expose a terrorist recruiter. Filmed entirely via Skype calls and Facebook chats, it’s an inside look into exactly what happens on our laptop screens. By the end, you’ll be wondering exactly how much is investigation – and how much is real life… 

5. Lost Girls (2020)

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Inspired by the true story of Shannan Gilbert’s disappearance, Lost Girls follows her mother, Mari Gilbert (Amy Ryan) as she attempts to find not only her daughter, but hunt down the Long Island serial killer – who was alleged of killing up to 18 people between 1996 and 2011. When the police fail to show up, it’s a mother’s love that finally drives action forward in the gated community where Shannan was last seen.

The five best comedy thrillers to watch

1. The Menu (2022)

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A star-studded cast including Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Fiennes and Nicholas Hoult, this dark satire of the fine dining industry sees guests travel to a remote island. Once there, their exclusive meal soon tales an unexpected turn. Whilst it’s all very silly, it’s not unrecognisable – which is exactly why this foodie thriller is a barrel of laughs.

2. Ready Or Not (2019)

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Young bride Grace (Samara Weaving) is thrilled to be marrying the love of her life, even if that does mean marrying into incredibly wealthy yet entirely eccentric Le Domas family. What Grace doesn’t expect is for her wedding eve take a sinister turn with a Le Domas family tradition that puts her as the target. As the night progresses, what appeared to be a lighthearted game of hide and seek quickly becomes a fight for survival – with Grace using all her wits to stay alive. A horror comedy with a gory twist.

3. I Care A Lot (2020)

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Starring Gone Girl’s Rosamund Pike as Marla Grayson in this hilarious tragicomedy, there’s only one thing that she cares about – money. Having developed a profitable scam that prays upon older people, Marla hijacks their lives by becoming their legal state guardian before quickly draining their assets. What Marla doesn’t expect is to swindle the wrong pensioner, finding herself face-to-face with Roman (Peter Dinklage), a former Russian mafia drug trafficker.

4. A Simple Favor (2018)

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Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) is a full-time, stay-at-home single mum, who also happens to be a very successful mummy Vlogger. When her new best friend Emily (Blake Lively) goes missing, Stephanie starts investigating and sharing updates with her fans – but the further she dives, the darker the secrets she uncovers. The big question is, where is Emily?

5. Baghead (2008)

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Barbie left you needing another Greta Gerwig fix? Enter Baghead. Spurred on by a colleague’s success, struggling filmmaker’s Michelle (Greta Gerwig), Chad (Steve Zissis), Matt (Ross Partridge) and Catherine (Elise Muller) retreat to a cabin in the haunting back woods of Big Bear California to work on their career’s. Once there, they hatch an idea for a new horror film – a guy with a bag on his head. It’s not hard to imagine what happens next in this thriller comedy, but a script becomes the least of their worries.